NEW YORK--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Today OncoPrecision announces $3.3 million in Seed Funding to further develop its Patient Micro Avatar technology which seeks to recreate cancer patients’ disease ex-vivo to precisely evaluate the response of these avatars to a wide range of both Standard of Care and explorational treatments within a week. The company’s goal is to unlock precise patient-specific insights that may help oncologists determine the best course of treatment, as well as to collaborate with the biopharmaceutical industry to optimize the development of transformational therapeutics.
The funding was closed in April with the participation of SOSV’s IndieBio, GRIDX, New York Ventures (the venture capital arm of the State of New York), Creative Ventures, Fundación Para el Progreso de la Medicina (a high-complexity diagnostics lab where the company’s Argentine lab is based), exited biotech and non-biotech founders, as well as strategic angel investors and family offices. OncoPrecision has raised a total of $4.2 million to date.
The company’s high-throughput platform focuses on obtaining patient-derived cells from biopsies and recreating the tumor microenvironment by combining them with proprietary engineered cells that seek to “trick” the cancer cells to act as though they were still in the patient’s body. With this combination of patient-derived cells and engineered cells, OncoPrecision creates highly-miniaturized Patient Micro Avatars which are then dosed with single and combinatory drugs simultaneously. Each Avatar’s response to treatment is then analyzed at a high resolution using flow cytometry and machine learning models that accurately track the response of the distinct cell populations within each Avatar. With these insights, OncoPrecision is hoping to offer its Drug Activity and Resistance Test (DART) as a service to assist clinicians to prescribe the most appropriate treatment, as well as collaborate with the pharmaceutical industry to increase the success rate of oncology drug development.
OncoPrecision is currently performing clinical validation studies with multiple cancer centers for its Acute Myeloid Leukemia and Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia models and is advancing in the development of its technology for additional hematologic and solid cancers. The company is also in active drug development collaborations.
The company was founded in late 2020 by Dr. Gastón Soria, Dr. Candelaria Llorens, Dr. Gerardo Gatti and repeat founder Tarek Zaki. OncoPrecision was born as an idea that originated while Dr. Soria was leading his Synthetic Lethality Lab at the National University of Córdoba after returning from his Postdoctoral Studies in Epigenetics at Institut Curie and the Erasmus Medical Center. Dr. Soria’s Lab was focused on the development of high-throughput screening technologies for target identification and drug discovery in collaboration with some of the largest pharmaceutical companies in the world when he realized that patient-derived models had the potential to create a paradigm shift in cancer treatment.
“The heterogeneous nature of cancer and its devastating impact on patients truly requires each case to be treated as a unique disease. Precision Oncology holds great promise, but it has historically been synonymous with Genetics, which unfortunately play a limited role in true response prediction,” said Kulika Weizman, Principal at Creative Ventures. “We believe in OncoPrecision’s radically different approach and are thrilled to join them on their journey to improve patient outcomes through truly personalized cancer treatment from bench to bedside.”
“During my academic career, I first fell in love with Genetics as potentially holding some of the elusive answers we’ve been searching for during decades of cancer research. Once I realized Genetics wouldn’t entirely answer them, I shifted my focus towards Epigenetics as the potential path forward until I realized that they wouldn’t give us all the answers either,” said Dr. Gastón Soria, Co-Founder & Chief Scientific Officer. “At OncoPrecision, we have the humbling view that while we are not capable yet to understand the complex mechanisms behind cancer therapy outcomes, cancer cells hold the answer, by integrating not only Genetics and Epigenetics, but also the plethora of layers that ultimately drive response or non-response to treatment.”
“We’re at a pivotal moment in cancer care when shifting away from the historic one-size-fit-all approach towards bespoke treatments that are tailored to each patient is a possibility,” said Tarek Zaki, Co-Founder & CEO. “We founded OncoPrecision to make that a reality.”
OncoPrecision is developing high-throughput screening technologies that can accurately predict cancer patients’ response to a wide range of therapies and modalities in clinically-relevant turnaround times with the goal of dramatically improving cancer patient outcomes. The company is based in New York, NY and Córdoba, Argentina. For more information, please visit www.oncoprecision.bio